Have you ever wondered how filmmakers and video production editors can take hours of video content and condense it down to a 3 minute clip in such a short period of time?

Well it’s likely that they use video-to-text transcriptions that include timestamps to help expedite the process.

Timestamps are tags within a transcription that identifies the exact point in an audio or video where the given text was spoken.  Usually timestamps are inserted in the format [HH:MM:SS] where HH, MM, SS are hours, minutes and seconds from the beginning of the audio or video file.

Timestamps on a transcription synchronise with the timecode in a video or audio file, allowing an editor to quickly identify the content they want included in the final piece without having to view or listen to the footage in order to make edits.  

This is a substantial time saver!

How Else Can Timestamps Be Useful?

Timestamps are often cited as the most important tool in a transcription for video editors and videographers. However, timestamps are also useful in audio-to-text transcriptions as well.

A researcher can use timestamps to help them jump to a specific point in an audio file so that they can listen to an interviewer’s tone.  Was the comment sarcastic? Was the sentence stated as fact?  Often you can only tell through intonation in the voice. Using a timestamp speeds up the location process and allows the researcher to accurately understand what was said.

In legal dispositions, timestamps can also be useful when needing to refer to a specific part of a transcription.  For example, an individual could use this citation during a hearing: “At [00:15:16] the interviewee responds that they saw a man with a baseball bat leaving the jewellery store.” This enables anyone to quickly find the reference point stated in both the transcript and the audio file and listen to exactly what the interviewee said.

Timestamps can also be used when neither you or the transcription service provider can make out what the speaker is saying in the audio or video recording.  When this situation occurs, it is common practice to type the word ‘inaudible’ and include the timestamp.  For example: ‘We use hops and [inaudible 00:17:23] in our brewing process’.

How Do You Add Timestamps To a Transcript?

Happy Scribe’s audio-to-text and video-to-text transcription service includes several different timestamp options.

At Happy Scribe, we automatically add a paragraph timestamp to every audio-to-text transcription order. A paragraph timestamp places a timestamp [HH:MM:SS] at the beginning of each paragraph.  By nature, these timestamps have a lower frequency, but they are still useful for helping an individual locate a general location of the audio or video corresponding to a particular part of the transcript.

Here is an example:

Happy Scribe also offers speaker timestamps, which often correspond to a paragraph timestamp.  Speaker timestamps are placed whenever there is a change in the speakers.  This type of timestamp is particularly useful for conversational material and panel discussions. They make it extremely easy to reference and find specific questions or responses.

Happy Scribe is also happy to offer custom timestamps, which allow you to manually add a timestamp wherever you need it within a transcript.  

Here’s how:

  1. Log into your Happy Scribe account and click on the transcript you wish to view.

2.  Insert your cursor in the part of the text where you would like to add a custom timestamp.

3. Click on the blue timestamp button on the bottom left of the application. Your custom timestamp will automatically get added.

You can find two additional timestamp tools under the timecode button: ‘Offset Timecode’ and ‘Realign Transcript’.

Offset timecode allows you to realign the timecode with the original source file. Simply enter the timecode at the very start of the original file.

Another tool is the Realign Transcript.  Sometimes, if you’ve made extensive edits to your transcription, the words may no longer align with your audio or video file. This is where the realign transcript can help. By clicking this button, Happy Scribe will adjust the timecode of each word so that it is synchronised again.

Additional Questions?

Timestamps can be immensely useful in a transcript for video editing purposes or whenever you need to undertake a lot of cross-referencing between an audio file and a transcript.

Timestamps not only quickly the editing process, but can help ensure accuracy for researchers.

Do you have any special time-stamping requirements or any additional questions we have not answered here?  If so, please get in touch. We are always HAPPY to help.